Thursday, September 20, 2007


Architectural Artifacts • Recycled History • Salvage Style

Embracing Change

A client came into the store last week, looked around and asked me, “How come this store changes so much?” Well, I had to laugh. After two years upstairs in a small studio, the good news is I’m back downstairs. I’ve up-sized and re-imagined our salvage/antiques business to focus and embrace the heritage of Detroit. My creation/fabrication studio is still upstairs in addition to the antique finds and creations of our long-term colleague and friend Lisa Jo Williams. Now the sad news, we say good-bye and good luck to Bellerose and home after two fun-filled years. Look for Peggy of Bellerose in her usual spot at The Ann Arbor Antiques Market. Julie and JoAnn of home are now doing design work and custom orders from their homes. Their old store number will connect you.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I don’t think it’s a mystery to you that we live in tumultuous and unpredictable times. Our local economy has taken a beating and truthfully I didn’t think our business would weather it. Call it divine intervention or necessity, I had to fill the vacancy and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the good response. As the Detroit News said, “she tried to let go of salvage but the salvage wouldn’t let go of her.” Through this whole process, I found that what keeps me going is my abiding passion for saving unwanted objects, finding their inherent beauty and repurposing them for you. The other is that deep down to the core I abhor waste of any kind and have saved things all my life. If I didn’t do this, I worried, who would and what would happen to our fragile city?

Born Green

I was green and I didn’t know it. Is it any mystery that I’ve been drawn to the oldest green business there is? My mission now, in the 15th year of the Heritage Co. II, is to speak often and to as many people as I can, about the moral imperative to recycle and repurpose as much as we can. Before you kick to the curb whatever it is you no longer need, please, please consider the alternatives. Fresh out of ideas? Call me. Maybe I can use it, know someone who can, or provide other options.

Shop Local

With our belts tightened, I took to the local streets to see what things we might have missed. Detroit is at the heart of American industry and traveling to shows across the nation, I was startled to see industrial salvage cleaned up and placed in gallery settings. Call it industrial fall-out, factory chic; it’s the vanguard. My goal is to see us use some of this in our own homes and workspaces. Come see the cool furniture we put together with The Richard Gage Design Studio: tables out of industrial scrap steel, reclaimed sheet metal, farm equipment, ancient building joists as well as the workplace furniture from small tool shops all over town.

You keep hearing to shop local and let’s face it, if we don’t hold on to our heritage and uniqueness, Detroit and other American cities will just look like one big boring strip mall. Small businesses like mine are dying while big box stores homogenize and undercut our very creativity. Trying to save money at the discounters, statistics show, is actually costing us more. Whereas spending our money with local independents, keeps our dollars home, reinvests there, saves money, benefits you, your neighbors, the planet and gives you someplace cool and different to go. Interacting with local store purveyors, you find out what’s going on locally. We, after all, have a vested interest in serving you. Wow! SERVICE, there’s an old fashioned idea. Don’t take our expertise, inside scoop and higher level of service for granted!

It’s about the stuff, stupid

And now the stuff you’ve really been waiting for. I’ve been hitting the antiques trail hard this summer which means loads of wonderful new, edgy and unusual items in the store. In addition to the local spoils, I shopped the big daddy show of them all twice this season in Brimfield, Massachusetts. The merchandise in the store is just off the truck and killer. Loads of European garden, fun signage, mod furniture, oddities, pieces to incorporate into art, architectural bits, all the glamour of New York and old world East Coast. Don’t fail to notice how great they look in our new improved surroundings. Decorative painter David King of Altro, has done a masterful job on my walls, “it feels very gallery-like” says Lisa Jo. Soon you can see his paintings for purchase or talk to him about painting your walls or furniture.

Please make note of my new hours! We are now closed Mondays and Tuesdays so that I can take these days to find cool stuff and make the store interesting and enticing every time you come in. You will find me there weekdays and Lisa Jo on the weekends. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see! And about that carbon footprint, help us eliminate this costly exercise of printed matter. Let’s email! Add yours to our list by emailing me at Or give it to us next time you’re in. I’m working on my website next and a blog, so I can update you on what I’m finding and doing.

We look forward to seeing all your smiling faces, it’s a big part of what keeps us going!